Thursday, December 15, 2011


Gee, good thing they have strict gun laws in Belgium.

Guns aren't a top issue of mine, but I figure the 2A sites are going to be pointing that out.  The laws don't move the dial much on the crime rate, whether they are strict or loose.  John Lott claims that concealed carry reduces the crime rate, opponents claim his research is flawed.  I'm nothing of an expert on that kind of research, so I couldn't say.  But the contrary research is also undramatic.  Enough so so that any study that does yield dramatic results either way should be viewed with immediate suspicion.

Violent crime is cultural, and perhaps even has some genetic underpinnings.  I suspect, from listening to them, that the gun control folks - we have a lot in mental health - believe that just generally discouraging anyone they talk to from liking guns will turn the tide.  

Similarly, sex education.  Whether a district has nothing, abstinence only, or daily condom-on-bananas openness doesn't seem to change teenage behavior more than a bit, and that's temporary. Ditto drug education.  It's been that way for years.


karrde said...

Mass shootings are very shocking, sad, and...rare. Even in the United States.

Which is good.

However, the yearly death-toll by firearm is dominated by single events. And it is smaller (by a factor of ~1.5) than the yearly death toll by automobile-accident.

I, too, disagree with the attitude of gun-control advocates. I can't make sense of it. Their position is defensible if most perpetrators of violence did so because of the presence of a deadly tool.

Like you say, this ignores cultural factors underneath of crime. It also ignores that violent people can still attack lethally without a firearm in their hand.

Texan99 said...

I think it would be nice if we could construct classes for clueless young people that opened their eyes to some aspects of sex, drugs, and firearms that they're probably not aware of yet. You hear sometimes about classes that require kids to carry around a baby doll for a week and really begin to think (within the limits of their youth) about what it means to have that kind of responsibility. A class that disabused kids of some of the nutty ideas about gunshot wounds they get from movies might be nice. I suspect a lot of young people could use more information about how to make sure a gun is unloaded and the safety on.

No one ever managed to penetrate my young consciousness on the subject of drugs -- I had to see friends get in trouble before I could make it real. I do remember being very struck by a speaker who came to my high school to describe her life as a drunk, including her memory of coming to only to realize she was being gang-raped. She didn't preach at us or talk down to us, just reported her experience matter-of-factly. She definitely got through to me.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Even those interventions have no measurable effect, sadly. You were ready to hear, I suppose. Youth-to-youth conversation has some temporary effect. I suspect that there is a cumulative effect of messages from other sources. But maybe not - no one's measured one yet.

There are correlates - having a Dad, having enough sleep, having breakfast. But difficult to tell how much of that is "having the genes of parents who stay together and make sure their progeny get sleep and breakfast."

Texan99 said...

I couldn't predict which messages would penetrate, but I can say with some confidence which ones will be a complete waste of time. If the message had a canned feel to it and drew a lot of conclusions, we all tuned it completely out. If we saw a real situation with a particular person, it sometimes got through. We were very concrete thinkers, and primed to assume that any advice we got from school officials was a lot of self-serving outmoded dreck. Most of that stuff had as much effect on me as the constant exhortations to quit wearing short skirts or (horrors) pants, which they actually tried to justify to us -- to teenagers -- as a means of preventing the degradation of property values. Sheesh.